Early Pre 1700 References to wire harp string composition

Gan chruit no gan tiompan teidbhinn
ni theid n–a cholludh croabh Liag
[a] da ghormshuil mar blath mbugha
do mhongdhuin snath umha iad

Liag’s Branch never sleeps but
to the strains of harp or sweet–stringed lyre
(only) brass strings can make their lashes close
over his two hyacinth blue eyes (14th Century) [1]

Gerald de Barri, more commonly known as Gerald of Wales or Giraldus Cambrensis has become the starting point for any discussions on the nature of the material used for the strings of musical instruments in use in Ireland. The basic quote is usually taken either directly or from published and edited versions, of one of the copies of Gerald’s Topographia Hibernica, the first recension of which was begun before he left Ireland in May 1186 and was completed before March 1188 when he presented a copy to Archbishop Baldwin.[2]

The text underwent numerous re–workings or ‘recensions’ by Gerald during his own lifetime before others later continued the process while often incorporating it in some form into their own historical writings. Although later writers did not always credit Gerald directly these later works can be useful as they could claim to be informed by then current practice and so offer alternative transcriptions and translations undertaken while the instruments involved were still very much in use.

There are however several problems with using Gerald’s work as the baseline for details of musical instruments in Ireland. Firstly it specifically deals with the stringed instruments, although in its comparison of Ireland with Wales and Scotland, he mentions the Welsh use of at least one wind instrument, (the tibia), or in common with Scotland possibly two wind instruments, if as it has been argued the chorus was a form of bagpipe.[3] This is decidedly odd since Ireland was unlikely not to have had wind instruments of some sort and archaeological evidence certainly confirms a variety of horns at least were in use there. Secondly while the original Latin texts show some degree of consistency it is the translations into English which are in fact usually quoted and taken to be the foundation statement.

Translation is always a difficult area even when done by ‘informed’ knowledge. For example it is noticeable that any contemporary translations or later re–working of Gerald’s original Latin text into English always translate Aeneis as ‘brass’ while most modern translators will use the description ‘bronze’.[4] Apart from the translations, although no fault of the translators who can only translate what is in the source, publication of Gerald’s work has created a false impression by omission. Gerald had set out with his Topographia Hibernica to describe for his Norman audience how the native Irish differed from what they were used to. He was not therefore describing as far as musical instruments were concerned those gut strung instruments normally used by the Norman minstrels. But the Normans and therefore their minstrels were by the time of Gerald already a growing part of the population of Ireland and it would therefore be wrong to assume based just on Gerald’s writing that there were in fact no gut strung instruments being used in the country of Ireland.

1185–1188 AD

The Topographia Hibernica

Æneis quoque utuntur chordis, non de corio factis [variation: Æneis quoque magis utuntur chordis quam de corio factis]

Moreover they [just the Irish? or the Scots and Welsh also?] [5] play upon ‘bronze’ strings rather than strings made of gut [variation they play upon ‘bronze’ strings more than strings made of gut].

The above Latin texts and translations are from Christopher Page[6] and in turn the Latin text was based on the published work by J. F Dimock Giraldi Cambrensis Topographia Hibernica (1867), and British Library manuscript Royal 13 B.viii, f.26 of circa 1200, which is also included as an illustration. The manuscript is illuminated and the specific page shows a figure playing a psaltery which has led to suggestions it represents the Tiompan. The translation given by Page was mainly based on that of L Hibberd published in 1955. Of the various original manuscripts the most easily available online is the circa 1200 recension MS. 700. f.36r which has been digitised by the National Library of Ireland and can be seen in their online digital collection. This manuscript is also illuminated and on that page has a picture of a seated harper apparently in the act of tuning. [7]

Circa 1300–1363

The Polychronicon of Ranulph Higden (d. 1364)

Although this and the following two references are linked and in turn stem from Gerald’s Topographia Hibernica they are still useful as to quote from Higden’s most recent biographer, A medieval text was rarely complete and Higden was still revising his chronicle at the time of his death.[8] This meant that any changes in contemporary practice could be updated and is even more relevant with the following two translations which would have been approached by the translators with a contemporary informed opinion while the instruments being discussed were still very much in use.[9] Ranulph Higden appears to have been from Cheshire, or at least was a monk in the abbey of St Werburgh in Chester. His translator John Trevisa was of Cornish origin although after study at Exeter College in Oxford where he spent some of his early years before becoming vicar of Berkely in Gloucestershire, not far from Bristol. It is interesting to note that at that period Chester and Bristol were the two main English ports for trade and traffic to and from Ireland.

Scan of The Polychronicon of Ranulph Higden


A translation and expansion of Ranulph Higden’s Polychronicon into contemporary English by John Trevisa, (b.c.1342, d. in or before 1402)

in harpe and tymbre [th]at is i‐armed wi[th] wire and wi[th] strenges of bras [10]

Scan of The Polychronicon translation of John Trevisa


MS anonymous British Library Manuscript. Harley. 2261. is also a translated
expansion of Higden’s Polychronicon

that is to say an harpe and a tympan stryngede and armede with cordes off brasse [11]

Scan of BLM Harley.2261, translation of Higden

Compiled circa 1441–1447

The Scotichronicon by Walter Bower (1385–1449)

Eneis quoque utuntur cordis non de intestinis vel corio factis [12]

They [the Irish] also use strings of bronze and not made of gut or hide (a footnote number 31 on page 383, refers to the fact that the word They is ambiguous).


Historia Britanniae by John Major page 34, his description of the Scoti Sylvestres [‘wild Scots’ = Highland Scots]

Pro musicis instrumentis & musico concentu, lyra sylvestres utuntur, cujus chordas ex aere, & non ex animalium intestinis, faciunt, in qua dulciffime modulantur

For musical instruments and vocal music the Wild Scots use the harp, whose strings are of brass and not of animal gut; and on this they make most pleasing melody [13]

Composed early 1540’s and published in 1548

Descriptio Britanniae, Scotiae, Hyberniae et Orchadum by Paolo Giovio [14]

Appellantibus festive arrident, et non nunquam choreas ad Arpen ducunt, quam utroque genu contentam per aereas impares chordas argutis digitis pulsant, et modulos alludente voce comitantur

They laugh festively at suitors, and sometimes lead dances to the harp, which held tightly against both knees, they strike with adroit fingers along copper cords of various lengths, and they adorn their settings with playful voice.


Rerum Scoticarum Historia by George Buchanan. [15]

Loco tuba, tibia utuntur utriculari. Musica maxime delectantur, sed sui generis fidibus, quarum aliis chordae sunt aeneae, aliis e nervis factae, quas vel unguibus praelongis, vel plectris, pulsant. Unica autem illis ambitio est, ut fides multo argento exornent, et gemmis. Tenuiores, pro gemmis, crystallum adhibent. Accinunt autem carmen non inconcinne factum, quod fere laudes fortium virorum contineat: nec aliud fere argumentum eorum bardi tractant. Vetere Gallorum sermone, paulum mutato, utuntur.

Instead of the trumpet they use the bagpipe. They delight very much in music, especially in Harps of their own sort, of which some are strung with brass wire, others with the intestines of animals; they play on them either with their nails grown long, or with a plectrum. Their only ambition seems to be to ornament their Harps with silver and precious stones: the lower ranks, instead of gems, deck theirs with crystal. They sing poetical compositions, not inartificially made, celebrating the exploits of their valiant men; nor do their bards for the most part, treat of another subject. Their language is that of the ancient Gauls, a little altered.

circa 1566

Attributed to John Good as published in ‘Britannia’ by William Camden.

Musica inprimis delectantur, citharaque maxime chordis aeneis quas aduncis unguibus numerose pulsant [16]

They love music mightily and of all instruments, are particularly taken with the Harp, which being strung with brass wire, and beaten with crooked nails is very melodious. (Translation in Bunting 1809) [17]


They delight especially in music, and most of all in the harp with bronze strings which they play on rhythmically/harmoniously with curved fingernails. (Modern translation in Fletcher 2001) [18]

There is an element of doubt exactly where to place this reference date wise. John Good was an Oxford educated priest who became master of a school at Limerick. He wrote a satirical account of the Irish called A Description of the Manners and Customs of the Wild Irish which is usually attributed to 1566. It does not seem to have ever been published by him but was extensively quoted and credited to him by William Camden in the later editions of his Britannia. Further confusion is added when Britannia was first translated into English by Holland in 1637 the relevant section was just translated as ‘but especially in the harpe with wire–strings’ with the nature of the string material left out altogether.


Dialogo della musica antica et della moderna by Vincenzo Galilei

Sono le Harpe che usano i detti popoli, maggiore assai delle nostre ordinarie; & hanno comunemente le corde d’ottone, & alcune poche d’acciaio nella parte acuta a’ guisa del Grauicimbalo

The harps used by these [Irish] people are greater than ordinary [harps] & have generally strings of brass, & a few of steel for the highest notes as in the Gravicembalo [harpsichord]. [19]


De rebus in Hibernia Gestis by Richard Stanihurst (1547–1618)

During supper there is present a harpist, often blind, who relaxes the reclining guests by striking his strings (which are woven from iron or bronze threads and not from sinews as other strings) [20]

Scan of de rebus in Hibernia Gestis by Stanihurst


Certain Matters concerning the Realme of Scotland by John Monipennie [21]

In place of a drum, they use a bag-pipe. They delight much in musike, but chiefly in Harps and Clairschoes of their owne fashion. The strings of the Clairschoes are made of brasse–wire, and the strings of the Harps, of sinewes: which strings they strike either with their nayles growing long; or else with an Instrument appoynted for that use


Syntagma musicum 2 De organographia by Michael Praetorius, (1571–1621)

The Irish harp, or ‘harpa Irelandica’ has great thick brass strings, to the number 43, and one of the most beautiful resonances. [22]

Scan Syntagma musicum by Praetorius page 56


Zoilomastix by Philip O’Sullivan (b. circa 1590 – d. in or after 1634)

Citharoedus (crede mihi Stanihurste) vix ullus reperiri potest magis oculis captus, quam tu es mente caecus: qui si praestitisses historicam fidem, fides nunquam ferreas, sed aeneas, vel argenteas lyrae, et tympano a musicis nostra aptari tradidisses.

Hardly any harper could be found (believe me, Stanihurst) more impaired in his sight than you are in your mind, you who if you were to be faithful to the historical truth, would pass on the fact that the strings of the harp are never of iron, but are of brass or silver, and are used also by our musicians on the tiompan. [23]


The second edition of De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus by Sir James Ware (1594 - 1666). [24]

Atque ea Citharam suisse cum chordis aeneis

This is an important account by probably the foremost Irish antiquarian and historian of his day. He had developed a close acquaintance with a number of Irish scholars, including Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh who in turn owned and used some of Sir James’s works. [25] Taking the description of the Irish musical instruments by Gerald of Wales, including the statement that they played on brass strings: ‘Atque ea Citharam suisse cum chordis aeneis’ as his starting point; Sir James Ward critically analyses Gerald’s descriptions, especially the question of the ‘tympan’. Since he states that there was no instrument of that name in use in Ireland that he knew of in his time but makes no such emendation regarding the brass strings, clearly the harps, or Clairseach of his time (of which there is also an illustration) were still brass strung. That interpretation continued through a number of later posthumous translations of the original Latin work into English. Mostly claiming to be ‘improved’ they provided the translation as ‘the harp with brazen Strings’. These translated versions were published in 1705, 1739 and 1764, by editors who would themselves have been familiar with the Irish harp. Sir James’s work was also cited as the source for noting that the Irish harp was strung with brass wires in ‘A General History Of The Science And Practice Of Music’ by Sir John Hawkins published in 1776, again during the time that the Irish harp and Harpers were still flourishing.

c. 1650-1662

Cambrensis Eversus by John Lynch (c. 1599 - 1673)

Foramina, aenei orbiculi muniunt ne a filis aeneis proterantur.

The holes are lined with brass circles to protect them against the friction of the brass strings. [26]


‘Discourse on metals’

‘Discourse on metals’ by Sir John Pettus in which under the heading of ‘Bells’ he goes into some details of the musical instruments made wholly or partly from Copper alloy and includes the wire strings of the ‘Irish Harp’. [27]

circa 1690

James Talbot’s Manuscript; Christ Church Library Music MS 1187

Talbot produces two separate sets of notes describing the Irish Harp and on both occasions he states that the strings are of ‘Brass’ [28]

Editorial Comment

Many references to metals in a musical context appear in manuscripts prior to the beginning of the eighteenth century and of these, eighteen contemporary accounts of the nature of the strings of the wire harps common to Ireland and Scotland have so far been identified; the earliest dating to circa 1186 and no doubt reflecting the stringing practice for several centuries before then. Although written in several languages with Latin predominant for the earliest, the metal common to them all is a copper alloy, usually called or translated as ‘brass’ although the re translations for modern editions have instead tended to favour ‘bronze’.

This modern tendency has proved unhelpful since the word ‘bronze’ only came into the English language from Italian via French around the middle of the eighteenth century and even then still referred to an ornamental freize or statues made of brass rather than its modern meaning of an alloy of copper with tin. By using the term bronze to translate the earlier texts when the exact composition of the alloys used for strings is still uncertain has suggested accuracy beyond the original contemporary generic use of the description of ‘brass’ which today is usually described simply as a ‘copper alloy’ with specific analysis of is constituents stated where known.

Apart from ‘brass’ two other metals are also mentioned; Galilei (1581) and Stanihurst (1584) include some strings of ‘steel/iron’ while O’Sullivan (1625) also brings in silver, albeit as a repost to his predecessor Stanihurst’s reference to ‘iron’. Although O’Sullivan’s reference to silver is not confirmed in the other sources it cannot just be dismissed without a fuller explanation of its background. Philip O’Sullivan Beare was born around 1590 and when the ‘nine years war’ ended with defeat of the O’Sullivan’s and their allies his family had fled to Spain arriving in Corunna in 1602. Educated at Santiago de Compostela he did not continue to a priesthood but spent time in military service before concentrating on his writings. He never returned to Ireland but he had access to the memories of his own family as well as others among the dispossessed so his work does provide a counterbalance to the accounts by the Elizabethan victors.

However his writings were done with a political purpose, to obtain military and diplomatic backing from the Habsburgs for the Irish Catholic cause and were influenced by Spanish historical fashions of the day and the Zoilomastix in particular was regarded by his contemporaries to have been marred by its rhetorical extravagances. [29] O’Sullivan was intent in rebutting what he saw as the disparagement of the Irish by Gerald of Wales and particularly Richard Stanihurst and the reference to the strings of the harp being ‘never of iron, but are of brass or silver, and are used also by our musicians on the tiompan’ is clearly a case of one–upmanship which together with its coupling in contemporary terms to the tiompan, an instrument which had gone out of use well before O’Sullivan’s birth casts further doubt on its accuracy.

O’Sullivan’s claim was possibly inspired by the knowledge that some of the wealthiest among the leading Spanish elite were experimenting with using precious metal strings on their early keyboard instruments, [30] a degree of ostentation which can be explained by the background to their wealth, but which did not bear any relationship to his native Ireland, regarding which many misconceptions regarding the availability of precious metals still exist. In a wide ranging article looking at the reasons for the repeated Viking raids on the Irish religious establishments, written by A T Lucas, a former Director of the National Museums of Ireland; he argued that it was because they, or rather the settlements that surrounded them were a regular source of replenishing the Vikings essential supplies of food rather than looking for gold and silver of which they had greater supplies back in Scandinavia. When he turned to discussing the Irish metal-work his comments are worth quoting in full; —

It is to be feared too, that the evaluation of this ecclesiastical booty as an attraction to the Norse raiders is sometimes unconsciously influenced by modern values attaching to surviving pieces of the period by reason of their rarity, their art-historical importance or even by reason of the volume of academic debate which has centred around them. The unconscious transference of those criteria to the Norsemen explains their preference for raiding Irish monasteries by tacitly turning them into connoisseurs of Early Irish art- an unlikely role in which to cast them. It is also sometimes forgotten that, to judge by the surviving examples, the bullion value of the great bulk of the Irish metalwork of the time was exceedingly small, gold being used only in microscopic quantities in the form of gilding, filigree and granulation and silver not a great deal more lavishly, while the overwhelming proportion of the weight of the items consists of bronze. [31]

But this was just the start of a period which has been described as ‘a time during which Europe’s perennial insufficiency of gold had not yet reached the famine stage of a century later’, [32] The reasons for the ‘famine’ in the fifteenth century and even whether that was the right word to use are the subject of academic debate, but the fact that there was a problem with the supply of precious metals throughout Europe until ‘the discovery of America, and the opening up to Europe of new supplies of gold, the first on a wholesale scale for eighteen hundred years’; changed the situation from circa 1600 is generally accepted. [33]

When this new wealth first started to flow it was to the Spanish and Portuguese territories and was spread initially into those parts of Europe most closely associated with them, (and explains the wealth that enabled the use of precious metals for musical instrument strings). England and by linkage Ireland, were of course by that time at political loggerheads with Spain and although some increase in supply of precious metals did occur, helped no doubt by the piratical activities of Sir Francis Drake and company, the severe depreciation of the coinage which had occurred during the Tudor period took until around 1600 before it was returned to near ‘mint’ standard. Therefore by association it was likely to be well after that time when an increased supply of precious metals enabled the higher end of Irish society to use it to display their wealth in manufactured goods.

Ironically although a very small quantity of metal ores were locally sourced in Ireland, apart from perhaps copper, most metals, precious or otherwise were imported, [34] and the main source of raw material for precious metalwork in early 17th century Ireland was imported Spanish coins and even then they were deliberately debased while being re–worked into the final product. [35] Scotland was of course at this time still a separate country but the situation there mirrored that in England and Ireland. To quote from a recent modern history of Scotland which describes the drop in coinage over the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries before supplies of American silver and gold began to reach Europe, ‘The art of making more money from less metal was well understood by the crown’s ‘moneyers’. The metal content of silver coins was steadily reduced from their thirteenth century optimum and the metal content of gold coins followed suit’. [36]

[1] McKenna, L. ed. The book of Magauran–Leabhar Meig Shamradhain, (1947), p 87, verse 28 and p 323 verse 28

[2] Bartlett, Robert. Gerald of Wales 1146–1223 (1982). 213; The Appendix 1 of this work contains the best easily accessible table of the chronology of the various versions.

[3] Collinson, Francis. The Bagpipe, (1975), 78– 84; For further discussion of wind instruments in use in Ireland at the time of Gerald’s description see, Sean Donnelly, The Early History of Piping In Ireland (2001), 1–6

[4] For contemporary translations see John of Trevisa’s work undertaken for Lord Thomas Barkley circa 1387 and Anonymous MS Harlian 2261, circa 1432–50 both quoted above which describe the strings as ‘bras’/‘brasse’. The most commonly used modern translations are those published by John O’Meara, The History and Topography of Ireland, (1982), 104; Christopher Page, Voices and Instruments of the Middle Ages, (1987) 230, and Alan Fletcher, Drama and the Performing Arts in Pre–Cromwellian Ireland, (2001), endnote 63 page 507, all use the description ‘bronze’. Since these translators presumably have in mind the alloy made from a mixture of copper with tin now known as ‘bronze’ but which in medieval times was just one of several copper alloys covered by the broad description ‘brass’, it is at best informed academic guesswork.

[5] This ambiguity surrounding the word ‘They’ is also noted by D E R Watt most recent editor of the Scotichronicon by Walter Bower (b 1385–d 1449). volume 8, [Books XV and XVI] (1987), 306–307 and endnote 31 page 383; The use of the description ‘bronze’ in this modern edition mirrors the other modern translators detailed in endnote 4.

[6] Page, Christopher, Voices and Instruments of the Middle Ages, (1987), 230.

[7] See National Library of Ireland online digitised collection. The image is at the bottom of page 75.

[8] Taylor, John, Entry for Ranulf Higden in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. (2004)

[9] The three texts illustrated are all from, Babington, C, Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden Monachi Cestrensis; Together with the English Translations of John Trevisa and of an Unknown Writer of the Fifteenth Century. vol 1, (1865). 355–355

[10] This composite volume of all three texts was published at a time when it was usual for printers to try and reproduce in type something close to the original documents and the contrast between Trevisa and MS Harley 2261 have been understood to be a good reflection of the changing style of English at those periods. Certainly Trevisa makes far more use of two letter symbols, the thorn ( Þ ) and the yogh ( Ȝ ) than the anonymous author who mainly sticks to the yogh. This presented a problem in terms of presenting the quotations, since modern printers rather than create the special symbols tended to substitute a ‘y’ for the thorn and ‘z’ for the yogh; which has led to some misleading modern pronunciations. For example ‘Ye old Mill’ or ‘Ye old Bread Shop’ where today the ‘ye’ is usually pronounced as written when in fact the original thorn was pronounced as ‘th’. Therefore the editors decided to restrict the length of the quotations and replace the thorn with [th] thereby indicating its pronunciation.

[11] Note the comparison between Trevisa’s ‘and Wales use[th] harpe and pipe and tabour’ with this writers version of ‘And Wales usethe trumpettes, an harpe and a crowde’ clearly indicating a re–interpretation rather than just a copy by the unknown author of the manuscript.

[12] Watt, D E R. ed. Scotichronicon by Walter Bower, Volume 8; books XV and XVI, (1987) 306–307

[13] Translation from Brown, P ed. Scotland Before 1700, (1893), 61

[14] Harris, Jason. Ireland in Europe: Paolo Giovio’s "Descriptio" (1548). Irish Historical Studies Volume 35. No. 139 (May 2007) pp 265–288. The original text is on page 283 with the translation on page 286.

[15] Original Latin and translation taken from John Gunn, An Historical Enquiry Respecting The Performance on the Harp (1807) 67–69.

[16] Camden, William, Britannia, 2nd and later Latin editions

[17] Bunting, Edward, A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland, (1809), page 7, note ††.

[18] Fletcher, Alan, Drama and the Performing Arts in Pre–Cromwellian Ireland, (2001) 510, note 94.

[19] For another modern translation of the work see, Palisca, Claude V. Dialogo della musica antica et della moderna by Vincenzo Galilei (2003). 357

[20] Translation from Colm Lennon, Richard Stanihurst The Dubliner 1547–1618, A Biography. ( 1981), 104

[21] This work has a somewhat convoluted history regarding its dating. According to a footnote in the ‘Register of the Privy Council of Scotland’ edited version volume IV, 1585–1592, (1881) page lvi, the ‘Chronicle’ was first published in Edinburgh in 1594. It was reprinted with changes in London in 1603 as Certayne Matters Concerning the Realme of Scotland as they were Anno Domini 1597. According to this authority the author was ‘John Monypenny of Pitmilly’. The work was reprinted again in 1612 as The Abridgement or Summarie of the Scots Chronicles, this time with John Monipennie declared as the author. The section quoted in this list comes from the 1603 edition which is un–paginated.

[22] Billinge, M and Shaljean, B. The Dalway or Fitzgerald harp, (1621). Early Music. vol 15, No. 2 (May 1987) 181.

For a modern translation of the whole work see, Crookes, David Z. Syntagma musicum. 2, De Organographia: Parts I and II; Michael Praetorious, Translated and edited from the edition of 1619. (1986). The reference to the Irish Harp is on page 62 of Crookes’ edition, but this contains an error; the copy of the scale for the harp he used, though purportedly taken from Praetorious’ work, has managed to lose a few notes in its transmission. (Something that Crookes seemed unaware of.)

[23] Carolan, Nicholas. Philip O’Sullivan Beare On Irish Music, Irish Folk Music Studies–Eigse Cheol Tire. vols 5–6 1986–2001), 53–56

[24] Ware, James, Sir. De Hibernia et Antiquitatibus ejus, Disquisitiones. (1658) 113–116.

[25] O’Muraile, Nollaig., ed. The Celebrated Antiquary Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisgh, c.1600–71. (1996), 257–259

[26] Text and translation from Cambrensi Eversus, The history of Ancient Ireland Vindicated by the Rev John Lynch, edited with Translation and Notes by the Rev Matthew Kelly, (1848). 316–317

[27] Follow this link to the Contemporary Metals Page on WireStrungharp.com

[28] Rimmer, J. James Talbot’s Manuscript. VI. Harps. The Galpin Society Journal, Volume 16. (May 1963), 66–67; In his second set of notes Talbot adds that This Instrument being tun’d with Brass strings which draw hard by hand, referring to the wire drawing process but which Rimmer has miss–understood to be referring to the finger technique for playing.

[29] Barnard, T. O’Sullivan Beare, Philip. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. (2004)

[30] Barbieri, Patrizio. Gold and Silver–Stringed Musical Instruments: Modern Physics vs Aristotelianism in the Scientific Revolution. Journal of The American Musical Instrument Society. Vol 36, (2010).

[31] Lucas A T, The Plundering and Burning of Churches in Ireland 7th to 16th C, in North Munster Studies, ed by Etienne Rynne, (1967) pp 212–213.

[32] Estow C, The Politics of Gold in Fourteenth Century Castile, in Mediterranean Studies. Vol 8, (1999), p130; Day. The Great Bullion Famine of the Fifteenth Century, in The Past and Present Society, No. 79, (May 1978), 3–54.

[33] Sedgwick W B, The Gold Supply in Ancient and Medieval Times and its Influence on History, Greece & Rome, vol 5. No 15 (May 1936), p 154: Nightingale P, Monetary Contraction and Mercantile Credit in Later Medieval England, The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol 43, No 4 (Nov 1990), 560–575; Estow C, op cite p 130.

[34] Cosgrove, A ed. A New History Of Ireland; Medieval Ireland 1169–1534, (2008), 489–491

[35] For Spanish coinage as a source of raw material in early 17th century Ireland, see A description of the State of Ireland in the Reign of James 1 [and VI]. edited by Charles McNeill in Harris Collectanea, Analecta Hibernica vol 6 (1934) page 441, Harris XVI, 164

[36] Houston, R A and Knox W W, eds. The New Penguin History of Scotland, (2001), 114.

Submitted by Michael Billinge and Keith Sanger, 9 May, 2014

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